I want to take a moment to talk about Yuli Gurriel, a player that I don’t think has gotten enough love this season. On Wednesday, Gurriel didn’t do much of anything, going 0-4, but on the year he’s been pretty solid, hitting .289 with 13 home runs, and over the past month he’s been awesome, hitting .319 with five home runs. He’s available in around 40% of ESPN leagues and I find that odd, because he contributes in a lot of way. Everything he’s doing looks legit, the power has increased with his increase in hard hit rate, his BABIP is at a sustainable level which suggests that his batting average should remain the same, it all looks good, there’s really nothing here suggesting any kind of regression. I honestly think he’ll end the year with around 25 home runs while batting in the high-.270s/low-.280s the rest of the way, that’s a really useful player. Now, if you’re in an OBP league, he’s a lot harder to own. Thanks to his awful 2.5% walk rate, he’s got a below-average OBP, so I can understand not owning him there, but in standard leagues, he really should be owned if you need some stability at the corner infield position.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Steven Souza (OF, TB) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB. Souza has been really hot and cold this year, but he’s in the middle of a nice hot streak, slashing .291/.378/.581 over the past month. The steals haven’t been what I’d hoped they’d be, but everything else has been great, especially the walk rate, which has stayed consistent all year, making him an awesome play in OBP leagues too. He’s only available in like 37% of ESPN leagues, but if he’s somehow out there, go get him.
Didi Gregorius (SS, NYY) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. That’s now four home runs in three games for Gregorius, who’s in the middle of a nice streak, hitting .388 with six home runs over the past 15 days. I’ve been saying all year that Gregorius is a border-line ownable guy, because he contributes decently in just about every category, but not enough to be instantly ownable. When he’s on a streak like this though, he’s worth owning, and unfortunately for anyone late to the party, he’s only available in like 30% of ESPN leagues.
Rafael Devers (3B, BOS) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. The top prospect was a hot pickup for awhile, which makes sense given his immense talent, but now that the Red Sox have acquired Eduardo Nunez, it’s going to be harder for Devers to get playing time. If you own him, I’d hang onto him for now to see if the Red Sox try anything weird with playing time to get him in the lineup, but I would say he’s not likely to play much going forward with Nunez on the team now.
Cameron Rupp (C, PHI) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Cameron Rupp makes his money on power, and he put that on display on Wednesday, but generally speaking I’d avoid him. I know catcher is a wasteland of a position, but he’s on a poor offense, which limits his RBI opportunities, and he strikes out over 30% of the time, which means that average is going to be killer. It’s a nice night, but someone I’d avoid.
Marcus Semien (SS, OAK) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Marcus Semien has been pretty bad this year, and being out for an extended period of time with an injury certainly didn’t help his fantasy value either. However, over the past week, he’s started picking up a little steam, hitting .391 with two home runs over the past week. Now, obviously that’s a small sample size, I’m not saying run out and grab him now, but we’ve seen the power/speed combo that Semien has in the past, so he’s worth keeping an eye on.
Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI . Zimmer has been really solid so far this year, and some of that I think is legit. The power and speed are real, he’s always had that, and I think he could end the year with 20 steals and 15 home runs, but that average will come down. His BABIP sits at .359, and while he has the speed to maintain an above-average BABIP, I think it’s going to come down a bit, though I do still think he could be a .260 or so hitter the rest of the way. He’s available in about 83% of ESPN leagues, if you need some speed, he can certainly help.
Eric Hosmer (1B, KC) – 5-6, 1 HR, 5 R, 6 RBI. Not that I have any special advice or analysis on Hosmer, he’s awesome and we all know that, but I feel like he needed to be mentioned because of the amazing game he had on Wednesday. Six RBIs, five runs, that’s a pretty fantastic game, shoutout to Hosmer.
Yoan Moncada (3B, CWS) – 1-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. The top prospect in all of baseball got nabbed up by a lot of people once he was called up by the White Sox, and he’s been pretty disappointing. He’s getting adjusted to the majors, it’s going to take time, but the potential here is undeniable. He’s probably not going to be much of a fantasy asset this year, but don’t worry, he will be in the future.
Marcell Ozuna (OF, MIA) – 3-5, 4 R, 5 RBI. Similar to Hosmer, I just felt like Ozuna’s amazing game needed a shoutout given that he had four runs and five RBIs without hitting a single home runs. Ozuna’s breakout campaign has been awesome to witness this year.